Tag Archives: addiction recovery

Powerless? Or PowerFUL? The Choice is Yours!

Posted on July 25, 2017

Challenges of Addiction Recovery
by: Hank Robb, PhD, ABPP

Though unpleasant feelings come and go
You’re always around to run the show!

Everybody has a voice inside his or her head that sometimes says, “How about doing something stupid?” The “stupid thing” varies from time to time, person to person, and place to place, but that voice is always “just around the corner.” You’re not “powerless” you’re just a living human being with the problem faced by all living human beings: that voice that says, “How about doing something stupid?”

“Getting SMART” means learning to recognize that voice and then refusing to go along with it. Because the bad results from the following the “stupid voice” don’t show up right away, staying “SMART” means keeping your eyes on the prize and moving toward what’s really important to you.

You never lose control of your hands, arms, feet, and mouth (unless you have a stroke or a seizure) — that ‘blah, blah, blah’ inside your head can’t make you do anything. You’re in control of you, even if you are not in control of that ‘blah, blah, blah’. You can always refuse to go along with that sometimes oh, so tempting, stupid voice inside your noggin.

When you do refuse, you may have some unpleasant feelings for awhile. Just remember:

Though unpleasant feelings come and go
You’re always around to run the show!

 


 

About the author: Hank Robb received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1978. He served as Director of Counseling and Associate Professor of Psychology at Lewis Clark State College, Lewiston, Idaho between 1978 and 1986. During this time, he also served as President of the Idaho Psychological Association, and Chair of the Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners, the state psychology licensing board. Dr. Robb moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon in 1986  In addition to his private psychology practice, Dr. Robb has published over thirty professional articles and book chapters on a wide variety of psychological issues and delivered scores of papers, presentations and workshops at state, national and international meetings. He is an Associate Fellow and Supervisor of the Albert Ellis Institute and a Peer Reviewed Trainer for Acceptance & Commitment Therapy as well as a Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Dr. Robb is board certified in both Counseling Psychology and Cognitive & Behavioral Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a Past-President of the American Board of Counseling Psychology. Additionally, he holds a Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders from the American Psychological Association’s College of Professional Psychology. He also served eight years as Chair of The Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy’s Religious and Spiritual Issues Special Interest Group and is certified as a Humanist Celebrant by the Humanist Society.
Dr. Robb is a founding board member of SMART Recovery. He has written a column for the SMART Recovery quarterly newsletter News & Views from almost the time the newsletter was established. He returned to the board in 2015 has chaired ad hoc committees since his return. Continue reading

How to Help a Loved One Find Addiction Recovery

Posted on July 18, 2017

Alternatives for Family & Friends
-Roxanne A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator

depression Chances are you were never taught how to manage a relationship with someone who is struggling with a substance abuse problem. You may find that without the necessary skills, your role as a family member or friend of someone with addiction becomes increasingly stressful as the addiction progresses.

Ignoring the problem or attempting to change it with harsh confrontation often makes the emotional, financial and physiological problems that accompany the substance abuse even worse.

CRAFT: An approach that gets people into treatment

There is an alternate, non-confrontational, scientifically-validated approach to managing the problem. This approach is outlined in the books Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening  and Beyond Addiction, How Science & Kindness Help People Change. Using Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) these books teach family members and friends how to improve their own lives while at the same time providing skills for improving their relationship with their loved one. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT’s approach proved twice as likely Continue reading

SMART Conference 2017 “Rising Strong”

Posted on July 11, 2017

Join us September 22-24 in Ft. Lauderdale
by Bill Greer, SMART Board Member

We are looking forward to seeing you in sunny Florida at #SMARTcon2017 as we celebrate National Recovery Month.

Under the theme Rising Strong, the 2017 SMART Recovery Annual Conference features numerous training and learning opportunities for SMART meeting facilitators, recovery professionals and others dedicated to helping people overcome addictions.

The theme recognizes SMART’s exponential growth to more than 2,400 weekly meetings in over 20 countries – up from less than 700 as recently as 2011.

 

The event will take place September 22-24 at the GALLERYone DoubleTree Suites hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The program highlights:

Continue reading

SMART Recovery tools to help with acceptance

Posted on July 5, 2017

by Jonathan von Breton, CCMHC

“The greatest sickness known to man or woman is called self-esteem. If you have self-esteem, then you’re sick, sick, sick, because you say: I’m okay because I do well and because people love me, so when I do poorly, which I’m a fallible human and will, and people hate me because they may jealously hate me or they just don’t like me, then back to shithood I go.”  – Albert Ellis, Ph.D.

wearenotThis is number 1 of the 3 basic “musts” that cause human disturbance:

 “I absolutely must perform well on important projects and be approved by significant people or else I am an inadequate and unlovable person!” (Leads to) Feelings of serious depression, anxiety, panic, self-downing. ..… Personally, you can’t always succeed not to mention succeed perfectly. Being a fallible human, you just can’t.”     – Albert Ellis

Yes, rating one’s behavior as opposed to one’s self is much easier said than done. Yes, our society strongly encourages the opposite. In fact, our society has a vested interest in doing so. I still have a hard time with it myself and I’ve had years of practice.

In general, I find it helpful to rate my behaviors as:

Successful, they help me get what I want and avoid what I don’t want.
Unsuccessful, they fail to help me get what I want and avoid what I don’t want.
Effective or Ineffective. This is another way of saying successful/unsuccessful
Consistent with my goals, values, ethics, beliefs.
Inconsistent, counter to, my goals, values, ethics, beliefs.

However, those are all behaviors. They aren’t my ‘self’ (whatever that is).  The behaviors can be measured and rated, at least to a certain degree. The self can’t even be defined, let alone rated. Continue reading

Dopamine and its effect on the brain

Posted on June 27, 2017

The key player in addiction
By Shelly Tichelaar, CEO & Executive Director, Ranch Creek Recovery

Yes, there really can be too much of a good thing. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that relays feelings of pleasure to the brain when we engage in an enjoyable behavior or activity. While human beings inherently rely on dopamine to reinforce survival behaviors such as eating and procreating, this brain chemical also happens to be the key player in addiction.

Out of Control Dopamine

Activated by such things as eating certain foods we love or engaging in romance, dopamine signals the brain that a reward is on its way. When we engage in these pleasurable activities, dopamine sends its chemical message to the brain — the association between the stimulus and the reward become hardwired, a process called conditioning. This stimulus and reward pattern allows the human species to survive.

But when it comes to drug or alcohol use, dopamine levels are released at five to ten times the normal level, flooding the mood center of the brain. The user’s brain associates the extreme rush resulting from the spiked dopamine levels with using the drug of choice, reinforcing the desire to repeat using it. Ultimately, the brain requires more and more of the alcohol or drug to achieve any feelings of pleasure at all, resulting in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors.

Dopamine and Addiction

Most drugs target the brain’s reward system, activating a surge of dopamine that overwhelms the brain. Continue reading

Recovery Advocacy is Not a Recovery Program

Posted on June 20, 2017

Words of wisdom for those in the New Recovery Advocacy Movement
Guest Blogger: William L. White

Of all the experiences I have had as a recovery advocate, none have been more heart-rending than receiving news that a person prominently involved in recovery advocacy efforts has died of a drug overdose. It reminds me once again that personal health and recovery are the foundation of all larger efforts to educate, advocate, and counsel within the alcohol and other drug problems arena.

This is not a new lesson. Consider, for example, the following stories. John Gough got sober in the Washingtonian revival of the early 1840s, but relapsed three times in the early period of his long career as America’s most charismatic temperance reformer. The lawyer Edward Uniac always stated that he was more vulnerable to the call of alcohol during extended periods of rest than when he was moving from town to town giving his temperance lectures. But Uniac suffered repeated drinking episodes and died in 1869 of an overdose of whiskey and opium while on a temperance lecture tour in Massachusetts. Luther Benson tried to use his own personal struggles with alcohol in the temperance lectures he gave across the country. His tales of continued binge drinking while on the lecture circuit were penned while he was residing in the Indiana Asylum for the Insane. His 1896 autobiography was entitled, Fifteen Years in Hell. Benson truly believed that throwing himself into temperance work could quell his own appetite for alcohol. In retrospect, he was forced to admit the following:

“I learned too late that this was the very worst thing I could have done. I was all the time expending the very strength I so much needed for the restoration of my shattered system.”

The stories of Gough, Uniac, and Benson are not unique. Similar tales were told by others who sought to cure themselves on the temperance lecture circuit. However, recovering people did achieve and maintain stable recovery working in the 19th century temperance movement and within treatment institutions of that era. An important lesson emerged out of the 19th century recovery movements: service activity, by itself, does not constitute a solid program for continued sobriety. This lesson was relearned throughout the 20th century, particularly within the modern rise of addiction counseling as a distinct profession.

A New Recovery Advocacy Movement is spreading across America and beyond, Continue reading